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What do circular patches on skin indicate?

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Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 9400 Questions
Hi. Over the past week I have been noticing small (about half cm) perfect circles appearing and disappearing on my skin. I'll only have one or 2 at a time and they disappear within a day only for one to pop up somewhere else! They are flat and red (but not angry looking) non-itchy and when pressed will fade before reappearing. If they weren't showing on my hands and feet I wouldn't even notice them. What could it be?
Posted Fri, 29 Aug 2014 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
?? Ringworm or Lymes, cannot be sure

Detailed Answer:
Hello ma'am and welcome.

Thank you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query with diligence and would like you to know that I am here to help.

In my opinion, only a physical examination would be most accurate to find the cause for such a presentation, as all skin-related presentations need to be physically examined. But based on the provided information, I am suspecting either ringworm infection or Lyme disease.

Ringworm infection is a fungal infection that requires anti-fungal medication for treatment, whereas, Lyme is a bacrerial infection requiring antibiotic coverage. Please schedule an appointment with your doctor as he/she would also know whether or not Lyne is currently prevalent in the region or not.

In the meantime, make sure you keep the affected region dry, clean, and covered with clothing. Also make sure you do not share any of your personal belongings (eg. Clothing, hair brush, etc.) with others.

I hope you find my response helpful and can report to a doctor at the earliest for adequate managaement. Please also feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help you.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What do circular patches on skin indicate? 4 hours later
Hi Doc,

Thanks for replying.

I'll be honest, I don't think it's either of those things. These circles are smooth and even-edged. They look almost as though I have had something circular pressed against my skin which has left a red pressure mark.

With the exception of having vertigo over the period of a few hours one day last week (this is not uncommon for me) and feeling like I was coming down with a cold on Sunday (by Monday I was feeling fine again) I've had no other symptoms to mention.

It's not something I'm worried about as obviously I'm feeling fine and the marks cause no distress, but I do hate a mystery and it's unlikely anything I've had or heard of before. Had one on the top of my foot when I went to bed last night and by waking up this morning it had gone / faded away.
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
?? Erythema annulare centrifugum

Detailed Answer:
Hello once again ma'am.

You might be right, but I am not completely convinced as there is a history of recent increase in temperature which relates to a possible infection. But as I said earlier, a physical examination is always most accurate in diagnosing any skin-related presentation.

If the above two conditions are in fact ruled out, then we have one more possible cause called Erythema annulare centrifugum which presents in a manner similar to your presentation. Although the condition has not been extensively studied, its presentation has not changed much from the reported cases other than a few of them reporting mild itching along with the typical red ring-like presentation on their skin (more often on the thighs and legs, but other covered regions of the body like the trunk, etc; can also be involved).

If at all you want to help clear your curiosity, a dermatology appointment should surely help. I hope you find my response helpful. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to be of assistance.

Best wishes.
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